The peaceful, quiet beauty of winter has settled into the vineyards of El Dorado County. While other landscapes across the country will be dominated by gray or brown hues for the next few months, California vineyards turn lush and green. Not because the vines are growing, they are dormant, but because everywhere in between is carpeted with the green growth of new grass. This season marks the beginning of the restorative process for the soil and the vines.
This is by no means a time for complete rest for the crews. There’s still lots of work to be done. This is especially true for the vineyards to ready them for the 2020 growing season. The growth from last year needs to be removed by hand. The vines are pruned or cut back closer to the main vine. This sets the stage for how the vine will grow and bear fruit in soon-to-come growing season.
It’s also a time to check in on how the previous year’s vintages are doing in the cellar. Samples are always being tasted, it’s the hard part of the job. Wink wink. While the vines are sleeping, wine is being bottled throughout the winter months.
The cold temperatures, while a risk during spring frost season, is actually essential to the dormancy of the vines. In fact, much like other fruit bearing crops, a certain amount of cold is needed for fruit to thrive the next season. So when you see a vineyard in snow during winter, have no fear the vines are fine. I think one of the prettiest time in the vineyard is when it snows. The patchwork of hills and vines really stands out when winter white descends.
We all welcome the rain this time of year. Sometimes it comes hard and heavy. Not this year so far. We are a bit below average for rain so at this point not much of a concern for erosion. The few ponds on the property are filled just enough though to entice wood ducks or herons to make a stop. Always a pretty sight.